DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Step inside The Fenix and it certainly feels like a nightclub.
Electronic dance music pulses from the speakers while colorful lasers shoot light across an otherwise dark room. But the nightspot’s management have a deeper perspective, though, on what happens there.
“We’re a nonprofit spiritual organization,” said Danny Hundly, a manager for the Downtown nightspot, which was formerly known as The Darkside.
Its owner, Glen Hudson, got in trouble with the Dallas Police Department last year for operating a dance club without a proper license.
That’s when he claimed he was actually operating a youth outreach ministry.
“We dance as a form of worship,” Hundley said. “People go to church or they go out to get away from their normal lives and reconnect with themselves. This is a way for kids to do that.”
In court records, however, the city of Dallas claims there’s nothing religioius within those walls.
“Only a ‘rave club’ that offers young people a place to drink, dance, have sex and buy, sell, and use illegal drugs,” an affidavit reads.
During just four undercover visits this year, detectives allege they’ve made 15 drug buys.
The former manager – known as Tommy Gunn – was also arrested for allegedly supplying young girls with drugs and sexually assaulting them.
“Whatever happened here in the past, we’re trying to fix it,” Hundley said.
A new crop of managers led by Hundley says they hope to survive a lawsuit by the city seeking to shut the venue down. This weekend they’re making a push to raise $20,000 for legal fees.
They’ve also made the decision to open the club up for scrutiny.
“I hope they see we’re trying to make it happen; we’re trying to cooperate,” Hundley said.